We found this Abbott’s Sphinx caterpillar on a grapevine, which was no surprise since they like grape leaves. It was actually rather creepy. The caterpillar has a fake eye on its rear, which is shaped like a snake’s head. When touched, the caterpillar hisses and raises its rear so that it looks like a striking snake. Kind of scary!
Here is the caterpillar with its back end raised:
And here you can see its front end a little better:
This one’s a little blurry:
These, we think, are a baby Abbott’s Sphinx caterpillar that drowned before fully developing:
Here is a link to more closeups of the Abbott’s Sphinx caterpillar: http://somethingscrawlinginmyhair.com/2009/08/14/abbotts-sphinx-caterpillar/
This link shows some of the different colors these caterpillars can be, as well as the moths they turn into: http://bugguide.net/node/view/4592/bgimage
And here is someone’s creative poem about the Abbott’s Sphinx, with pictures: http://lifeontheleafedge.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/abbotts-sphinx-poem/